Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, made her return to the Capitol after being absent for over two months due to shingles. However, her appearance was shocking and clearly diminished.
Accompanied by an aide in a wheelchair, she displayed a frozen left side of her face and nearly closed eye, exhibiting signs of disorientation and discomfort, including audibly complaining about something bothering her eye.
The senator’s frail condition is a result of various complications stemming from her hospitalization for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed, DNYUZ reported.
The shingles virus had spread to her face and neck, leading to vision and balance impairments, as well as facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Additionally, sources familiar with her diagnosis, speaking anonymously, revealed that she had also developed encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating inflammation of the brain, as a consequence of the virus.
Post-shingles encephalitis, characterized by brain swelling, can result in lasting issues such as memory or language problems, sleep disorders, confusion, mood disorders, headaches, and difficulties with mobility. Older patients tend to experience more challenges in their recovery. Even prior to this recent illness, concerns had been raised about Ms. Feinstein’s mental capacity due to significant memory problems.
The somber scene of her return to Capitol Hill exposed a grim reality known to those who have interacted with her recently: she was far from being fully prepared to resume her duties, and she now struggles to function in a role that demands long hours, constant engagement on crucial policy matters, and high-stakes decision-making.
Ms. Feinstein’s office provided a statement from the senator, noting her return to Washington, participation in voting and committee meetings, and ongoing recovery from shingles complications. However, her office declined to comment further on the matter.
Written by staff